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Asthma medication Xolair shows promising results in food allergy treatment, research finds 

Asthma medication Xolair shows promising results in food allergy treatment, research finds 

USA—A new study has revealed that Xolair, a 20-year-old asthma medication offered by Novartis (NOVN.S) and Roche (ROG.S), can dramatically decrease allergic reactions in people with multiple severe food allergies in a late-stage experiment. 

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reports that Xolair allows people with food allergies to tolerate higher doses of allergenic foods before developing a reaction after an accidental exposure. 

Building on this finding, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approval of Xolair earlier this month to include the treatment of food allergies in individuals one year or older, making it the first drug approved for multiple food allergies. 

Dr. Robert Wood of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, who spearheaded the trial, notes that while individuals taking the medication will still need to avoid allergenic foods, they can be less concerned about inadvertent ingestion of tiny amounts of these foods. 

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This breakthrough is expected to significantly impact the lives of many patients and families. 

Food allergies affect a significant portion of the population, with estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicating that 2% to 8% of American adults and children suffer from them. Severe allergic reactions lead to thousands of hospital admissions, ER visits, and fatalities annually. 

The trial involved 177 children with severe food allergies, aged 1 to 18, along with three adults. 

Initially, participants showed sensitivity to small amounts of various allergens, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. After receiving omalizumab, the active ingredient in Xolair, a significant portion of participants demonstrated increased tolerance to allergenic foods. 

For instance, 67% of participants could consume the equivalent of approximately four peanuts without experiencing moderate-to-severe allergic reactions, compared to only 7% in the placebo group. 

Similar improvements were observed with other allergens, with a notable percentage of individuals experiencing increased tolerance levels. 

The study highlights the potential of Xolair to change the management of severe food allergies and improve the quality of life for affected individuals. 

Ongoing research aims to further optimize treatment protocols and explore additional applications of this innovative therapy.

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